James Hilton was a very popular novelist in the '30s and '40s. He wrote Goodbye, Mr. Chips, Lost Horizon, and Random Harvest, all made into successful films (two with the great Ronald Colman). He even won an Oscar -- for the screenplay for Mrs. Miniver. I don't know whether anyone reads his books today -- though they are certainly worth reading. Ron Hogan, at Beatrice, recently posted some interesting remarks by Carolly Erickson about Hilton's Lost Horizon.